About 1½ hours by train, to the northeast of Amsterdam, lies the village of Deventer. In December of each year, the village celebrates its Dickens’ Festival.

It’s a magical time in which the whole community, residents and visitors alike, are transported to rural England and to the Dickensian 19th century. Everywhere there are Christmas trees. There are houses bedecked with a thousand lights. And in the streets, there are the well-loved characters taken from “A Christmas Carol”,” The Chimes”, “David Copperfield”, “Oliver Twist” and “Little Dorrit”, all of them come alive from his stories and novels.

Some can be seen lying in the gutter crying “make way for the Queen”. There are the beggars and the noblemen, and all of them portrayed in this re-imagining of a Dickensian England. It’s a chance to experience a different world, a world in which wealth exists cheek by jowl with poverty. The streets are crammed with stalls selling mulled wine, waffles, sweet and festive meats.

The festival has been running for 27 years and every year attracts 120,000 visitors.

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